Dubai 09: Lockheed projects strong Middle East market for C-130J

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The Middle East is likely to become one of the biggest export markets for the Lockheed Martin C-130J, with the company saying that it expects several orders for the transport aircraft in the near future from the region.

There are firm orders for the aircraft from Qatar, Iraq and Oman, while there are ongoing discussions with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait and additional aircraft for Oman.

"We see a lot of demand from the Middle East and Pacific Rim in the coming years. The C-130J is ideally suited to the Middle East due to its ability to fly high and hot, and we fully expect more countries in the region to show interest in the coming years," says Jim Grant, Lockheed Martin's vice-president business development for the C-130J programme.

"There are a whole range of missions that the aircraft will be deployed on in the Middle East, including humanitarian missions to the ability to support and deploy operations around the world."

Grant says that the talks are ongoing with the UAE, which began discussions earlier this year with Lockheed to buy 12 C-130Js. "Both sides have the same objective, which is to close the deal and get the aircraft deliveries started. We are targeting the deliveries to start in 2012."